DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – (Box Score) Marian (Ind.) captures the Dr. Tom Osborne National Championship trophy with a 31-14 victory against Southern Oregon Saturday night in the 2015 NAIA Football National Championship, presented by Waste Pro. The banner is the second all-time for the Knights, who also won the title in 2012, and avenges a 2014 defeat at the hands of Southern Oregon.
“I couldn’t be prouder of our team,” said Marian head coach Mark Henninger. “Our players worked extremely hard, literally 365 days in order to make this happen. For them to be able to experience this, and play the way that they did, is a testament to these guys.”
With the win, Marian (12-2) becomes the 22nd team in NAIA history to win at least two national championships. Additionally, four of the last five title winners have come from the Mid-States Football Association – Saint Xavier (Ill.) (2011), Marian (2012, 2015) and Grand View (Iowa) (2013).
Wide receiver Krishawn Hogan – the game’s Offensive Outstanding Player of the Game – capped one of the best individual playoff performances with a stellar night against the Raiders. The Indianapolis, Ind., native tallied his 13th overall and 11th-straight 100-plus yard receiving game with 147 yards and a touchdown on a season-high 11 catches. Hogan also ran the ball four times for 15 yards and a score. With the effort, Hogan boasts 16 playoff touchdowns this season, including 12 on the ground.
Running back Maurice Woodard, who did not appear on the two-deep roster entering the event, also played a key role for Marian. He tallied a game-high 82 yards rushing on 13 totes and two touchdowns.
Defensively, the Knights, who entered the contest ranked among the top three nationally in rushing defense per game, scoring defense per game and total defense per game, held true to these rankings. Marian limited Southern Oregon (11-3) to only 208 yards of total offense, which is the lowest output for the Raiders since registering 107 total yards against NCAA Division I Portland State (Ore.) on Sept. 3, 2011.
Twenty-one different Knights recorded at least one tackle in the game, highlighted by six stops by defensive lineman Dwayne Beckford. The Irving, N.J., native also had 3.5 tackles for loss and two sacks en route to Outstanding Defensive Player of the Game honors. Beckford ends the year with an NAIA-best 15 sacks.
Defense ruled the first quarter, as the two teams failed to light the scoreboard in the opening frame. Southern Oregon and Marian combined for six punts and only 131 total yards. The Knights, whose average field position in the quarter was their own 11-yard line, had the best opportunity to score, however the nine-play, 44-yard drive stalled when Hogan fumbled on the Raider 32-yard line.
The scoreless first quarter is the first time since Carroll (Mont.) and Sioux Falls (Mont.) failed to score in the opening frame of the 2010 title game. That contest ended 10-7 in favor of the Saints.
Woodard opened the scoring with 4:55 left in the second quarter, capping a 13-play, 77-yard drive with a 19-yard scamper. The touchdown was the West Lafayette, Ind., native’s sixth of the season and first since Oct. 31 against Concordia (Mich.).
Outside of Woodard’s touchdown, a pair of Hayden Northern scrambles on third down kept the drive alive. Facing a third-and-six on the Southern Oregon 42-yard line, Northern took off for a 10-yard gain. He repeated the effort three plays later with a 10-yard first down run to put the ball on the Southern Oregon 19.
Hogan put the Knights up two touchdowns, 14-0, with a 2-yard run on a direct snap with 1:05 before halftime. The score was his 12th rushing touchdown of the playoffs and 15th total score. Prior to the start of the Football Championship Series, Hogan had only scored three times on the ground – all coming against Siena Heights (Mich.) in the regular-season finale on Nov. 14.
The zero on the scoreboard marked the first time that Southern Oregon had been shutout in the first half since the previously mentioned contest against Portland State. This is the first two-quarter shutout in a title game since Carroll failed to score until the fourth quarter in 2008. The Raiders mustered only 78 yards of total offense through 30 minutes of action.
The third quarter mirrored the first quarter for both teams, as neither club found the endzone.
Woodard notched his second touchdown of the game with 14:20 left in the fourth quarter on an 18-yard run. The score capped another long drive for Marian – eight plays, 69 yards. At that point, Marian was in control, 21-0.
In arguably the craziest play of the game, Southern Oregon notched its only touchdown of the game when Trosin skipped a lateral to wide receiver Jeremy Scottow, who then threw a 32-yard scoring strike – his second of the season – to Matt Retzlaff. The touchdown cut the Marian lead to 21-7 at the 11:28 mark of the fourth quarter.
Marian sealed the win on a 55-yard touchdown pass to Hogan, who carried two Raiders eight yards into the endzone, pushing the Knight’s lead to 28-7. With 5:36 left, Marian added a 37-yard field goal before Southern Oregon scored what proved to be the final touchdown of the game on a Tanner Trosin pass to Matt Retzlaff.
Wide receiver Matt Retzlaff and defensive back Julius Rucker were two of the bright spots for Southern Oregon. Retzlaff caught eight passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns. In two career championship games, the junior from Medford, Ore., boasts 13 catches for 189 yards and two scores.
Rucker, who earlier this week was named a First Team AFCA-NAIA All-American, tallied 16 tackles, including nine solo stops.
2015 NAIA Football National Championship Awards
Outstanding Offensive Player of the Game – Krishawn Hogan, Marian (Ind.)
Outstanding Defensive Player of the Game – Dewayne Beckford, Marian (Ind.)
Marian (Ind.) Game Notes
• Marian becomes the 22nd team in NAIA football history to win two-or-more national titles. The Knights were 2012 national champions.
• The Knights competed in the title game for the third time in the last four seasons.
• The Knights improve to 14-3 all-time in the postseason in five overall trips.
• Marian held true to its top-five national defensive unit tonight. Entering Saturday, the Knights were No. 1 in rushing defense per game, No. 2 in scoring defense per game and No. 3 in total defense per game. Southern Oregon was limited to 44 rushing yards, 208 total yards and 14 points.
• The 19-yard rushing touchdown by Maurice Woodward in the second quarter to put Marian on the board was his sixth of the year, but first since Oct. 31.
• After an 18-yard rushing score in the fourth quarter, Woodward had notched his third, two-touchdown rushing game of the year.
• Marian quarterback Hayden Northern rushed for a season-high 31 net yards. His previous high was 18 yards.
• Through the air, Hayden went 21-for-29 for 211 yards and one score. He finished with his fourth game this year with zero interceptions.
• Krishawn Hogan finished with two touchdowns tonight – one rushing and one receiving. He now has posted 16 overall touchdowns (12 rushing, four receiving) in four playoff games this year.
• After 11 receptions and 147 receiving yards tonight, Hogan finished the year with at least six balls in seven-straight games and 11 of 14 overall.
• He was 33 yards shy of a season-high in receiving yards (180).
• Hogan, who was honored as the Most Outstanding Offensive Player of the Game, exceeded the 100-yard receiving mark in 12-straight games to wrap up 2015 and in 13 of 14 overall contests.
• Named the Most Outstanding Defensive Player of the Game, Dewayne Beckford finished with 6.0 total tackles (1 assist), 2.0 sacks and 3.5 tackles-for-loss. He finished with a NAIA-national best 15.0 sacks on the year.
• Marian will head into the 2016 season winners of nine-straight games overall.
Southern Oregon Game Notes
• In its sixth appearance, Southern Oregon falls to 11-5 all-time in the Football Championship Series.
• With two receiving scores tonight, Matt Retzlaff ended with a team-high six on the year. He added 82 yards on eight catches. In his last three games of the year, he averaged 107 yards receiving.
• Retzlaff went for his second game of the year with two touchdowns caught.
• Julius Rucker, the 2014 National Championship Most Outstanding Defensive Player of the Game, claimed a game-best 16.0 tackles. The amount was the most since 2013 when Weston Hazelhurst got 17 playing with Cumberlands (Ky.).
• Isiah Carter (11.0) and Joseph Lealofi (10.0) joined Rucker with 10-or-more tackles.
• Quarterback Tanner Trosin posted a season-high 40 attempts as he completed 17 throws for 132 yards, one touchdown and an interception.
• Trosin connected on six passing touchdowns and three rushing scores in four FCS games this year.
• Southern Oregon was shut out through three quarters. That marked the first such time in a championship since 2008, when Carroll was held scoreless until the fourth.
• Southern Oregon was held scoreless in the first half for first time since Sept. 3, 2011 at NCAA Division I Portland State (Ore.). That same game also was the last time that the Raiders recorded fewer yards of total offense (107) compared to tonight (208).
• The nine Southern Oregon punts, all by Thomas Giddens, was the highest amount by a championship-playing team since former member Northwestern Oklahoma State had 10 in 2000.
• The 208 total yards of offense by Southern Oregon is the fewest in a national championship since 2010 when former member Sioux Falls (S.D.) finished with 207.
Overall Game Notes
• Four of the last five national champions have come from the Mid-States Football Association – Saint Xavier (Ill.) (2011), Marian (Ind.) (2012 & 2015) and Grand View (Iowa) (2013).
• The zero points scored by both teams in the first quarter was the first time since 2010.
• There were six combined punts in the first quarter. Overall, both teams tallied 14 total punts (nine by Southern Oregon, five by Marian).
• Prior to today, Southern Oregon was the team to score first in 12 of 13 games on the year. Marian’s Maurice Woodward opened up the game’s scoring with a 19-yard rush in the second quarter.
• Southern Oregon and Marian met tonight with the title on the line for a second-straight season. This marked the first time that the same two teams clashed in the championship game since Carroll (Mont.) and former member Sioux Falls (S.D.) locked horns in 2007 and then again in 2008.
Head coach Mark Henninger
“I couldn’t be prouder of our team. Just this experience… it was such a great one a year ago and for us not to be able to experience what this tasted like (in 2014) makes this special. Our players worked extremely hard, literally for 365 days in order to make this happen.
For them to be able to experience this, and play the way they did, fight and battle and what we asked them to do all year. Especially these three guys (Hayden Northern, Krishawn Hogan, Dewayne Beckford) sitting right here. Really, what all three have fought through all season long. For them to be able to sit up here and sit next this trophy is a remarkable thing.”
Quarterback Hayden Northern
Establishing an offensive rhythm:
“We wanted to get the first, first-down. I think the offense did a great job, even when we were backed up against the wall. We kept up the push and put a good drive together.”
On Krishawn Hogan’s 55-yard touchdown catch:
“I just drop back and get the ball to my playmakers. Krishawn is one of the best playmakers in the country. So, I just threw up the ball to him and he made a good play.”
Wide receiver Krishawn Hogan:
On his 55-yard touchdown catch:
“When coach calls those plays like that, I know there is an opportunity to do something big and I always get excited. When the corner bit on the fake, I knew Hayden would put it right there, so I saw the ball and I felt them dragging me into the end zone. I actually think I got some help from them (the defenders).”
On the rematch with Southern Oregon:
“We are in the national championship, so you don’t really think about that. It’s nice to get payback, like some people may say. We got this trophy right here. It doesn’t matter who we beat, but it feels good to get it.”
Defensive end Dwayne Beckford:
On holding down the Southern Oregon offense and quarterback Tanner Trosin:
“We really wanted to keep him (Trosin) in the pocket. Because we felt keeping him in the pocket, he couldn’t beat us in that way. Going into it, we wanted to collapse the pocket and get lineman in his face.”
Southern Oregon Quotes
Head Coach Craig Howard
I really want to honor Marian University and their head football coach Mark Henninger. They have a great coaching staff, excellent players, and are a worthy opponent, and now they’re a national champion. They’ve been in the national championship three of the last four years and they started football in 2007. Their president had a vision and a dream to start football there and they’ve turned into a national powerhouse.
But, so has Southern Oregon University. Last year, some people thought that was a one year wonder or a fluke, and they’d never be back. Our program was on the verge of dropping football eight years ago when (Marian) started football. We didn’t drop football, just like we didn’t quit tonight, and we didn’t quit during the season.
We started the season ranked No. 1 in the country, tied with Marian. I don’t know if that’ll happen next year; we don’t control all that stuff. All we’ll control is when we get back to Ashland, Oregon, we’ll go to work, we’ll do everything we can as a coaching staf and as players to have a rubber match with Marian. We won last year, they won this year; in the coach’s dream world and the player’s dream world, we’d get the rubber match next year, and decide this thing once and for all.
Did you have a feeling you were in trouble early in the game when you weren’t moving the chains?
Our philosophy is to keep our players loose all week, and I thought we were loose and ready. I thought as we got closer to game time, we get a little more of that mental edge and be primed and ready to play. We had great field position in the first quarter, and we didn’t take advantage of it. I thought we were up tight, I told them at halftime I thought they were playing not to lose, rather than to win the national championship and that was my fault. I just didn’t get them ready that way. We didn’t play Raider football tonight. Melvin Mason broke his ankle, we believe, the second play of the game, and losing him was not only the loss of a great player, but a downer to our guys. We had to come back from that. At no point in time did we ever quit. But, we only had 72 yards of total offense at halftime. I can’t remember the last time that’s ever happened. Our best players didn’t play their best football. We played an awful lot better football to get here than we played tonight.
We call that one double trouble. We have 28 trick plays that we run, and I wanted to run all of them tonight, but we ran out of time. That’s a play we work every week. We don’t run them every game, but we needed a spark to start a fire. Tanner (Trosin) threw a bounce pass to Jeremy Scottow and Matt Retzlaff ran the route, and they executed it very well, and I thought it was going to get us going. Again, you can’t win on trick plays, but they’re not trick plays to us. We call them special plays because we practice them from August to the championship game. Jeremy, how many times have we run that in practice? Probably about 500 times? We’ve run it a lot. It’s not an easy play because the ball has to bounce, the skip, you make it look like an incomplete pass, and then Jeremy has to hang in there and be a great actor. Ashland is the home of the Shakespearean Festival, so there’s actors in Ashland, and Jeremy is in the theatre program, and acted well and threw a touchdown to Matt.
Difference from last year
They were tough to run on last year. They have a great defense. We know the offense puts people in the stands and the defense wins championships. It was the same players, we just didn’t execute tonight. You’ll have those games. If you ever have a day as a golfer where you’re not hitting it well, that happens. Again, I thought our defense was playing lights out early, they were very physical. In the first quarter, it’s a 0-0 tie. They scored that touchdown on the run, and it all started to go downhill from there. Momentum plays a great factor in football. We have a plan for momentum, but they got it in their huddle and on their sideline, and we had to fight to get it back and we didn’t really get it back.
Marian’s ability to run the ball
Hogan’s an All-American because he’s an All-American. He finally had the touchdown catch at the end, but he presents problems for you; such a big physical receiver. I thought our guys did a great job defending him, but he still got his big play at the end of the ballgame. Again, we just take our hats off. We’re very disappointed, as you can see on the players’ face, we’re trying to handle this with dignity and class, but we’re crying inside.
Marian used last season’s loss as a motivator to get back here, and hopefully we can do the same. There’s and old saying in football, “A setback is an opportunity for a comeback.” To get back here is big odds and a lot of good things have to happen. But, the first thing as we walk off this field and head back to Ashland is get some time off, come back in January, and get to work.
Jeremy Scottow – Southern Oregon Wide Receiver
We run these plays so routinely that they become second nature. It’s just another play in our playbook. On this play, I just told Matt to go up and get it. Tanner delivered a perfect ball and couldn’t of asked for a better route by Matt and we just did what we do every day in practice.
Julius Rucker – Southern Oregon Defensive Back
Marian’s ability to run the ball
Like Coach said, we came out physical stopping the run, they didn’t give (Krishan Hogan) the ball very much. We didn’t get off the field on third down when we needed to. We gave up some big plays and didn’t get the offense back on the field.
They’re a great team. They play a great game. They got the better of us, but we showed up at the end of the game to congratulate them as opposed to last year when they didn’t. In my heart, I feel like I kind of got screwed. I’d love to come play them again, they’re a great team, hopefully next year, it’s a different outcome.